WTSWTM: Snippets and translations from Astros’ early season

It is time for another episode of What They Said, What They Meant. This off-day version is filled with more quotes for the Astros taken from chron.com (Spit!!) and translated from baseball-speak into English by your blog meister.

Jed Lowrie after the Astros won the third game of the A’s series.

  • What he said. “The most important thing you said there was avoiding a sweep. It’s always nice to beat your former team, but for this club, it was more about avoiding the sweep. That’ll give us some good feelings going into the off-day, be able to enjoy it.”
  • What he meant. “Hell, yes I like beating my former club. Of course it is confusing when you are helping your previous former team beat your former team. Kind of like when you see your reflection in a mirror, which is reflected in another mirror and on and on.  But that was just a cherry on top of the sundae of avoiding the sweep. The last few years this team would have gone down and started a long losing streak. We are not going to let that happen this year.”

Luis Valbuena after hitting his third homer of the season on Sunday.

  • What he said. “Not surprising. We have a lot of people who can hit a lot of home runs. Everybody is making their adjustments.  I’m not trying to hit the home runs. We truly have a good team. I’m just trying to connect with the ball, and thankfully it goes out of the ballpark.”

Luis Valbuena after hitting his fourth and fifth homers of the season on Monday

  • What he additionally said “No, no, no I’m not surprised, that’s why I work in the cage and the practice. I’m looking for cutter. He throws me the pitch I’m looking for and I (was) aggressive with the pitch.”
  • What he meant both times – “The operative word here is ‘surprised’. I’m not surprised at what I can do. I think everyone else may be surprised, because all I was expected by the media and the fans was to be better than Matty D and his .586 OPS in 564 ABs last season. Talk about setting the bar low – that bar is underground.”

Tony Sipp after getting the win Monday as part of 4 great relief innings (not counting Joe Thatcher‘s uninspiring appearance).

  • What he said. “You can tell everyone out there has confidence. You can flip a coin and put any guy out there at any given time. And you know, it’s like a friendly competition: see who can be the best guy out there.  Hopefully we’re all out there sitting on ones at the end of the year, high fives, trying to see who can get down to (an ERA of) point-zero something. It’s one of those things, like winning is contagious — successful bullpens kind of feed off each other also.”
  • What he meant. “I did not go there, but last year’s bullpen was contagious also – as in ebola or bird flu deadly disease contagious. Sometimes I thought that Chad Qualls and I were the only pros in the ‘pen last season. This time I don’t wince when they bring someone in the game. Well maybe Thatcher…”

Asher Wojciechowski after following up a shaky first start with a nice relief effort.

  • What he said. “I just executed better pitches. My slider was sharper and I’ve just been working on keeping my arm path shorter rather than getting long. When I get long things tend to stay up in the zone and my stuff isn’t as crisp. It was nice to have a good outing and definitely just want to keep it going.”
  • What he meant. “Yeah, sure, it had to do with my arm path. (Wink wink) Maybe it had to do with my first major league appearance and not being able to sleep the night before and having so much adrenaline coursing through my body I couldn’t keep the ball below the waist if I was throwing baseballs filled with lead.”

Dallas Keuchel after winning Saturday with 6 innings of 2 hit ball against the Angels.

  • What he said. “There are a few pitches I’d like to have back, but overall the cutter was actually pretty good tonight. It’s nice to see the cutter there. I’d still like to clean up the two seamer a little bit, but other than that I was mixing up pretty well.”
  • What he meant. “Remember that part to the theme song in ‘Shaft’ – where Isaac Hayes sings back and forth with his backup singers ‘They say this cat Shaft is a bad mother – (Shut your mouth). But I’m talkin’ ’bout Shaft – (Then we can dig it)‘? That is how I am feeling right now. The Angels led the majors in runs scored last season and after making them look anemic I talk about how I can improve. I’m feeling like a bad mother right now.”

Manager A.J. Hinch on how the Astros will handle the Josh Fields activation when no one in the bullpen looks like they deserve to be replaced.

  • What he said. “We have a tentative plan and I’m not going to tell you.”
  • What he meant. “You would be right if you said General George Patton never had a tentative plan. He had a plan even if it seemed impossible. I’m just being a bit of a jerk because the last time I talked to Jeff Luhnow about Fields he said ‘I have a plan and I’m not going to tell you.'”

Chad Qualls after Mike Trout launched his 2nd homer of the game on Friday to put away the Astros.

  • What he said. “Right before the pitch I just told myself, ‘Don’t get too crazy with it and accidentally hit him by going down and in.  That little inkling caused me to kind of pull it and I ended up throwing a sinker more or less down. That’s kind of his wheelhouse. I just didn’t execute the pitch that I wanted to. I felt like I threw the ball real good. It just really didn’t work out.”
  • What he meant. “You know that long par 3 at your local course that is a 200 yard carry over the water? You know how as soon as you start swinging you say to yourself ‘don’t hit it in the water’? You know what comes next right? Same thing.”

A.J. Hinch has decided to not skip pitchers when there are days off . He is keeping to a five game rotation instead of a five-day rotation, which pitchers like Dallas Keuchel don’t agree with….

  • What Keuchel said. “I know some teams, like Cleveland, I know (ace Corey) Kluber pitched on five days rest instead of five games’ rest. I guess it’s up to the team. Nobody really asked me anything. I would have liked to have gone five days, but I think we have plenty of good starters here that we can just roll over.”
  • What Keuchel meant. “Gee, I wonder why I picked the reigning Cy Young award winner who I out-dueled in the opener as my sterling example of who pitches on 5 days rest? Front office and manager are you getting the hint?”
  • What Hinch said. “Obviously you can talk to them, but they pitch.  I know some guys like to work on regular rest. Extra rest has never been known to hurt somebody. It’s not really a negotiation as to when they pitch.”
  • What Hinch meant. “At the end of the day – there is only one lineup card and only one guy who fills it out. That is under my job description and I’m not ceding it to the pitchers.”

Collin McHugh on the higher utilization of his cutter (40% of the time since August last season).

  • What he said. “I think it’s a versatile pitch. That’s probably why I throw it more, because I can shorten it up, throw it 88-90 (mph) to lefties up and in. I can make it a little bit bigger, little bit slower to righties, throw it down, 85-87, get a little depth to it. All the same grip. I can front door it to righties, I can back door it to lefties. So it’s just it’s not necessarily I like it more than my fastball, it’s just more versatile in different counts. So yeah, if the percentage has gone up, it’s because when the situation calls for it, I feel really comfortable with it.”
  • What he meant. “Yeah, I’m a bad mother right now too.”

Bonus Quote. Evan Gattis after finally hitting a home run.

  • What he said. “Great.  I just really wanted to salvage a hit. Loose and wristy, I know (A’s reliever R.J. Alvarez) was throwing 95-plus (mph), so I just wanted to be nice and easy to it. … I felt like this team has been really supportive this whole time. What are you going to do, try harder? To me, if I’m really beating myself up — I mean, I’ll be mad — but if I’m really beating myself up, I feel like that somewhere in there it’s telling you that you’re not doing your best, or at least (not) giving your best effort. And attitude and effort is about all you can control in the game.”
  • Your turn: What you think he meant……

66 comments on “WTSWTM: Snippets and translations from Astros’ early season

  1. When I wrote this – the Fields “plan” was still a secret – but it is a secret no more as the speculation that Jonathan (Stone Hands) Villar was sent down to make room for Josh Fields. This leaves the Astros with 13 pitchers – 8 relievers – in an attempt to give the relievers some more rest – and 3 bench warmers for any game.


  2. What Gattis meant: I tried everything and I couldn’t buy a hit. So I asked Valbuena and Marisnick what they were eating for breakfast and lunch. When they told ne they were eating bear meat because that was all a bear was good for, I decided to work harder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your response reminds me of the scene in “When Harry Met Sally” where Meg Ryan fakes the big O and a lady customer says “I’ll have what she is having.”
      Trivia note – that other customer was the late Estelle Reiner, mother of the movie’s director Rob (Meathead) Reiner and for 65 years the wife of the great Carl Reiner.


  3. First, this is another hilarious edition of WTSWTM. Second, I hereby declare that Keuchel’s nickname should become “Shaft!”


    • Thanks for the compliment Brian T – it was a lot of fun to do.
      Yes – Shaft Keuchel – since we in Houston do not like to mention that city to the North – I like this alternative.
      I mean he is a bad a—(shut your mouth)


  4. What Hinch meant to say about Fields: We have a tentative plan and as soon as Jeff gets back from Mexico City, I’m gonna find out what it is.
    What Hinch said about Villar: I told him to hit the showers, clean out his locker and grab his luggage. He didn’t hit the shower, missed the garbage can with his junk and dropped his carry-on. Then he caught a flight to Oklahoma City. It’s a process.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. What Keuchel said about the Astros pitching rotation: After all, who am I to argue with the success the Astros have had with their pitching the last four years. I gotta go with the team on this because their record speaks for itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Did anyone catch the veiled innuendos by the Astros announcers last night late in the game(of course the entire game was late) when Marisnick was at the plate? They made references to Jake being a 3am insurance kind of hitter and they were jawing back and forth about what they were inferring to. It was an obvious reference to JFSF. Bloggers on TCB’s game thread last week were referring to Marisnick as JFSF and now the Astros’ announcers were referring to it.
    I think we actually have given Jake a nickname.


    • Yes he officially changed his name to Dexter Tweak Fowler. Under the Good Lord we are all day to day – but some of us are more day to day than others.


  7. The Astros are off today, but you may want to turn your eyes to southern California, where Nick Tropeano makes his 2015 debut for the Angels. From the Angels site:

    “Tropeano will be making his Angels debut, after being acquired with Minor League catcher Carlos Perez from the Astros for backup catcher Hank Conger in November. He gave up five runs on 10 hits and two walks with 12 strikeouts in 11 innings in his two starts at Triple-A this season.

    • Tropeano will be pitching on five days’ rest. He had a 4.57 ERA in four starts as a rookie for Houston last year, though none of them came against the A’s.”

    I believe Tropeano was scheduled to have made the start against Fresno last night, but was scatched. Now, we know why…


  8. By the way, the reason they took three days to demote Villar to Fresno was to give the Grizzlies time to remove all the doors from their locker rooms, in case Jonathan is not happy.


      • Hopefully even Fresno won’t start him at SS. IMO his days at SS, well that ship has sailed. He should convert to a permanent OF’er with CF as his focus.


      • Well, Steven – I think he may end up elsewhere – usually if a team gives a player a few chances (even if they are brief) they start looking elsewhere.


  9. With Springer, Marisnick, Rasmus, Aplin, Kemp, Teoscar, Maverick, Derek Fischer, and Jason Martin, as CFers in our system, we actually might not need Villar out there. Ooh, what if we get DDJ back? Logjam! Maybe we should look at Jonathan’s arm and try to make a reliever out of him. After all, our stadiums already have screens behind the plate.
    Forget that, we don’t use relievers in our minor leagues. Send him to CC and let him be Appel’s tandem partner! Let Villar start and then Mark can come in and wrap up. If Villar is on the mound, he could be a candidate to beat out Keuchel for the Pitching Gold Glove. Or not.


    • Villar would have the largest range of any pitcher you have seen, but the right fielder would be running track meets to run down all the balls thrown in the RF corner by him….


  10. article worth reading at the chronicle (spit) about the push for pre-draft physicals in baseball. additional info about the aiken situation.


  11. what his agent said ‘his elbow is fine’, what he meant ‘if you knew the truth he would fall to at least the second round and i’d lose all that money’


      • “I won’t repeat the specific rumors, but the worst versions of it say there are career-threatening issues at play, while others say it’s merely an increased risk of further injury going forward. All 30 teams will get Aiken’s medical before the draft, the details will likely leak to the media and the answers that no one has at this point will come out before decisions have to be made. Either these rumors are bunk and Aiken will go 7th-10th overall as some expect, or he’ll get taken off a bunch of draft boards altogether and I’ll be forced to rank him somewhere around 40, with no telling where he’ll go or how much money he’ll get.”

        dan if he drops to the 2nd round (or worse) he left a 5 million offer on the table for considerably less. our 2nd rounder last year aj reed got 1.35 million


      • i like this from manfred. it should be a given there is full disclosure before the draft. nfl does it. also i like that manfred is letting pete rose take a part in the allstar game. and maybe is thinking about reinstatement. rose was among the best hitters of all time. he deserves a place in the hall. put an asterix if you want and explain what he did, but what he did as a player on the field should be the determining factor for the hall.


      • All the stupid crap talk about limiting shifts and changing the game to suit new tastes made me very leery about him. But rumors about pre-draft physicals and making the DH uniform across all of baseball gives me hope that he actually might be a sane person. Next thing you know, there actually may be uniform penalties across all of baseball for rule violations or equal money from a TV deal that gives all teams the same chance to win.
        Who am I kidding?


      • rj – those are pluses

        op – funny I thought it was so ridiculous at the time (outlawing shifts) that I’d forgotten that proposal. Maybe they could pitch underhand to up the offense.


  12. Villar should thank the Good Lord, I never got hold of his neck, or you guys whould be pall bearers. I’ve seen ALL the Jonathan Villar I want to see in an Astros uniform.
    The sad part is the guy has been playing at the highest level of baseball for the better part of three years, and he *STILL* doesn’t get it. If I had been the gate agent working his Fresno flight, I would have put OKC on his boarding pass…….and laugh my butt off when he runs to catch the plane to Oklahoma City!!! I might have been fired, but I’d have a DANG good story to tell!!

    I love this blog……….it’s NEVER EVER boring!!


    • I feel like there is a potential sequel to the Home Alone movie series where Kevin (played by Villar) gets separated from his team mates by a vengeful ticket agent. “Home Alone 5: Stranded in OKC” at theaters for the holidays!


  13. I was looking for some quotes from Anyone Astros yesterday, but nobody is sayin’ nuttin’ about anything. Drellich had an article about the Athletics, so apparently he can’t find Anything Astros to talk about either.
    I found one quote from a Royals player. What he said: Ahm gonna knock yo head off.
    What he meant: Ahm gonna knock yo head off.


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